An investigation into a UK hospital has concluded that doctors’ negligence and lack of proper care for a patient suffering from a deadly form of cancer may have played a role in his sudden death.
Andy Witney, a 56-year-old who resided with his wife in Oxford, had been diagnosed with mesothelioma, a rare and deadly form of lung cancer, in 2005. While a majority of mesothelioma patients succumb to the illness within one year, Witney had been able to survive for five years due to his cardio routines and his age (many mesothelioma patients are in their 60s and 70s).
However, his health took a sudden and drastic turn in July 2010 when he began undergoing a trial drug treatment at Oxford’s Churchill Hospital. After only a few treatments, Mr. Whitney lost the use of his legs and began suffering from uncontrollable diarrhea. Due to staffing cuts, doctors were also not able to deliver medication to him on time, and also could not tend to him at times when he was in need of medical help.
The situation grew even worse when Mr. Witney’s wife Karen walked into his room and found him alone, without clothing, and covered in his own feces. His condition continually worsened until he passed away, only 12 days after he had begun his trial drug treatment at the hospital.
There followed an unimaginable nightmare in which for over a week until his death he endured huge discomfort and pain with little care provided to alleviate his distress. They are willing guinea pigs who put their trust in these people. They shouldn’t be let down, Mrs. Witney told the Oxford Mail. Andy should not have been on a general ward and the trial budget should have allowed for funding ensuring that any trials patient has available to them 24-hour nursing care. This is not an unreasonable request.
An investigation into the hospital’s methods found that some doctors admitted they should have prescribed higher doses of medication to Mr. Witney to help fight the trial’s side effects he suffered from. A coroner also ruled as part of the investigation that Mr. Witney had died of mesothelioma, but that the trial drugs and untreated side effects could have played a role as well.
While the Mail article does not mention whether or not the Witney family will pursue legal action against the hospital, the improper medical care that led to Mr. Whitney’s death would seem to qualify as clear example of hospital negligence that resulted in the worst possible outcome. If you or a loved one has experienced something similar to this, contact a medical negligence attorney to see if there may be grounds for a lawsuit.